The rowers of the Yale lightweight crew team brought their brooms, but did not get a chance to use them this weekend.

After defeating No. 10 Dartmouth and No. 8 Rutgers on the Housatonic River this past Saturday, the No. 3 Bulldogs narrowly lost to No. 4 Cornell just a few hours later.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs see the positive side of Saturday’s doubleheader.

“Racing two regattas on Saturday was a good way to learn what to expect for the Eastern Sprints, which consists of an early heat and final race in the afternoon,” Peter Barkett ’07 said.

Saturday started off well for the Elis, who retained the Durand Cup for the ninth consecutive year. The Yale varsity boat timed in at 5:35.2, ahead of Dartmouth’s time of 5:39.1, and Rutgers’ finish at 5:40.5. The junior varsity boat, with a time of 5:44.7, crept by Rutgers’ 5:45.9. The third varsity and the first freshman eight also won with times of 6:30.6 and 5:42.4 respectively. The only boat not to finish first was the second freshman four, who clocked in at 6:44.9, a few seconds behind Dartmouth’s 6:41.2.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs could not build on their morning win to row past Cornell. The Big Red varsity boat’s 5:29.4 edged out Yale’s 5:31.4. In the second varsity eight race, Cornell also narrowly defeated the Elis 5:41.3 to 5:46.

The Bulldogs won the other three races. The varsity four’s finish of 6:33.8 was just enough to beat Cornell’s 6:34.5. The freshman eight also snuck by Cornell with a time of 5.42.7 to 5.43.5. Lastly, the second freshman four rebounded from its morning loss to beat Cornell’s time of 6:39.8 with a 6:38.4 finish.

Although failing to go perfect this weekend, Andrew Klaber ’04 and the Elis insist that much can be taken from their loss to Cornell.

“In a championship season, what you do after a loss is more decisive than what you do after a win,” Klaber said.

The loss to Cornell is just a minor setback in what has been a improving season for the lightweight crew team. With the annual HYP race just a week away, Klaber and the Bulldogs understand what needs to be done to reach top form.

“It’s time for us to reach inside and find a little something extra — a little extra spirit, a little extra guts, a little extra strength,” Klaber said. “We have speed to gain.”

While beating the nemeses Harvard and Princeton would be nice, it is the ERAC Sprints May 15-16 and the IRA National Championships May 27 that are of the utmost importance.

The Elis, who last won the National Championship in 2002, are poised to make their way back to the top.

For the Class of 2004, these next few weeks will be particularly special.

“Yale lightweight crew has been the most intense, wonderful experience I have ever had,” Klaber said. “As we gear up for the most intense racing of the year, the bonds of camaraderie between Yale oarsmen will help us reach our terminal velocity.”

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